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I do not think that anyone would have imagined that getting involved in forum discussions on social media could have lead to deadly consequences. The problem is that more often than not, that is precisely the case.

Over the years I have found myself getting into private conversations with people who fear a stalker showing up at their door someday and killing them. Virtually all of these people, and myself, have received death threats and calls for us to kill ourselves by complete strangers.

On November 10th of this year, I was in yet another one of these conversations when the person said “He’s going to come and kill me one day……. I’m a bus ticket away…….Mark my words….that guy is going to come for me one day.”

The significance of that date did not escape me for I live just a half hour from the site of one of strangest cases of stalking in living memory. In November of 2007 a Female astronaut drove across the country wearing a diaper so that she would not have to stop to go to the bathroom with the alleged goal of killing a woman dating a fellow astronaut.

In the case of the person I was talking to, she was not dating a rival. In fact, the subject of her concern never met her. Her stalker, instead, embarked on an almost decade long stalking campaign against her accusing her and many others of things she did not do or did not say.

Anyone else who disagreed with this stalker soon came under attack not only by him but those who were part of his support group. More than one of them advocated the death of those he accused.

I also was the subject of death threats, not only by one of this stalker’s supporters but by others as well all due to the decision I made to engage in discussions on social media.

In a majority of cases these stalkers live hundreds and thousands of miles away from those they target. Many are of limited financial means. This has led to those who do not believe those who make these threats would be able to go with them to dismiss the threats  as nothing more than cruel threats that would not be carried out.

In light of the massive amount of violent incidents that have occurred lately, their arguments are no longer valid.

So, just how would someone of limited financial means go about carrying out his threat?

It is not that hard.

For example, one would only need to work for a temporary labor agency for one or two days to obtain the funds necessary to purchase a bus ticket. You can go from Chicago Illinois to Miami Florida for example for less than $100.00

Why a bus and not by car?

Several reasons, actually. First in most cases someone may not have a car that is capable of making the trip without breaking down. It may be in poor mechanical condition making the trip with it an unnecessary risk.

Next, unlike taking an airplane, a majority of bus terminals have no security measures. There is no homeland security at bus terminals. ID’s are rarely checked and the use of cash to buy a bus ticket is commonplace and thus would raise no concerns or suspicions.

There are no bomb sniffing dogs or metal detectors in most cases so if the stalker decided to take a weapon with him or her, it could be done easily.

So, the stalker now arrives at his destination and let us speculate that he/she did not take a weapon. It is quite easy to buy a weapon in most cases. The perfect example is a firearm. In Florida, for example, you can walk into a pawn shop and buy a used rifle for under a $100.00. There are no background checks required for rifles in the State of Florida.

If the stalker happens to arrive at a destination where there is a gun show, the process of buying a rifle is much easier and can be cheaper to purchase as well.

Once the stalker has the weapon, then what? Simple. The stalker then can use local transit to get around. Local transit buses and commuter trains are also inexpensive. A bicycle is also fairly cheap. A second hand one can be had for as little as $20.00.

Now, how does the stalker locate the victim. Again fairly easy, In a majority of cases where the death threats and other threats have been made, the person making the threat makes it clear that it knows all that is needed about the threatened including their name address place of employment and even the names and other sensitive information of friends and family.

This is because of the common practice of doxing or the documenting of all information about a person or persons that is done on the internet by those who wish to silence the victim through intimidation or in the case of the stalker declaring that “I know where you live.”

Now why would someone go through all of this trouble? The reasons are as many as there are people on the internet. In most cases there are personal issues with the stalker that causes them to reach an emotional state where they would go to this extreme.

In the case of the stalker in question and that of his supporter, these are two individuals that have a weak sense of self control. These types of individuals tend to lash out at others due to personal issues or the information about their target that has been provided from sources that may be questionable.

A stalker may have domestic issues that drive their anger. There could be a divorce or separation that was highly contested. There may be custody issues involving children that are highly contested by all parties involved. There may be problems with law enforcement and finally there may be issues where an alleged target of stalking may have taken legal measures to stop the stalking.

These and other factors could combine to rise the emotional distress to a point where the stalker reaches the decision that it is time to take the drastic action of carrying out the threats made on the internet.

If anything provides proof of such a scenario, the shooting in Texas where most of the attendees of a church service were either killed or wounded when a man stormed into the church and started shooting at them.

It turns out that he was in a domestic dispute with his mother in law who normally attended mass at that church and that she was likely one of his targets.

In conclusion it is time to take such threats seriously. In heated debates on the internet, emotions run high and the intensity of these debates can lead to extreme cases of anger.

It the extreme cases, this extreme anger can be deadly.

Stay tuned